Cup runneth dry

Ngaio Bealum is a Sacramento comedian, activist and marijuana expert. Email him questions at

I was talking with a friend in Colorado and he told me that another pot festival was just recently denied permission to organize its event. Why is Colorado having so many issues with these types of events compared to California?


It’s funny. In some ways, it is easier to throw a festival when weed is illegal. It can be seen as a sort of protest, like the Ann Arbor Hash Bash or the Seattle Hempfest. Thousands of people show up and put a cloud in the air, the cops can’t arrest everyone, and people are mostly left alone to smoke weed and have a great nonviolent time. Things get a little fuzzy when marijuana is just another drug. Anti-smoking ordinances tend to treat tobacco and marijuana in the same way, and for some strange reason, many city officials would rather have beerfests (because we all know alcohol users are never violent or out of control) than a pot party.

The High Times Cannabis Cup Has been a successful event in Denver for more than 10 years. However, it seems like the good people of Denver don’t want 35,000 good-natured people spending money on hotel rooms and restaurants, because weed is bad or something. Part of this is because prohibitionists are dumb, and part of this is because High Times has a bad rep for not cleaning up after the event. Fortunately, San Bernardino has kinda become the unofficial home of large cannabis festivals. The High Times Cup was just there in January, and it looks like it will be there again in April. San Bernardino also hosted the Chalice California event in 2015, although I think Chalice is looking for a new location this year. As for Colorado, I don’t know what to tell you. That city’s loss is California’s gain. I would like to thank the city of San Bernardino for being cool about adult cannabis users and I would suggest that you and your friend get tickets for the San Bernardino event ( Have fun!

What you think the odds are for legalization in California in 2016? According to the people at my dispensary, they think it won’t happen until 2019. Why would it take that long?


2019 would be a weird year for cannabis legalization. Right now, California has a 50-50 chance. Sean Parker’s Adult Use of Marijuana Act has money and is gaining steam. There were some internet stories floating around about a company named KUSH donating $1 million to the Marijuana Control, Legalization and Revenue Act, but the “money” turned out to be stock with a value of maybe 5 cents a share and no real legal backing. We will see if the AUMA can convince the squares (and all the growers in the Emerald Triangle) to get support for 62 pages of regulations.